Exam Room Flags for Customer Service

1010421594_largeIf you’ve been to a doctor’s office in the past, you’ve probably noticed those colorful things outside of each exam room. I recently learned these are called exam room signal flags. I have no idea what each color means (and I imagine they vary from office to office), but the idea of them is interesting and appliciable to other industries as well.

The flags do just what their names imply – provide signals to doctors and other personnel about what needs to be done or what’s going on. If a patient is in the room waiting for a doctor, I imagine they have a flag color for that. If the patient is in the room waiting for an initial examination by a nurse, I imagine there is a flag color for that. If the doctor and patient temporarily left the room, but still need it, there is probably a flag color for that, too. There are countless things that the flags could represent (or signal) and if anyone knows what some of them mean, feel free to leave a note in the comments.

However, the more relevant point is how easily this can be applied to other industries. I’ve seen online helpdesks that allow employees to flag tickets with different colors that have different meanings. Restaurants, stores, and hotels could probably benefit from something similar. My guess is that most types of in-person service businesses with multi-step processes already have something similar.

The basic premise is that most businesses could benefit from having a subtle way to let employees know about their customers and what needs to be done at any given time. If employees can get a quick and easy understanding of what’s happening at any given time, they are a lot more likely to act in a way that’ll benefit the customer service experience.